By Leo McMahon
Carrigaline, Co Cork based charity Edith Wilkins Street Children Foundation India (EWSCFI) is working flat out trying to relieve the horrendous suffering of sick and dying Covid 19 victims – many of them children - in Darjeeling, India and seeking the support of the people of Cork and Ireland.
Donations can be made through the registered charity’s account at AIB Douglas Road, Cork sort code 934348, account no 21439006. You can also donate online at www.idonate/edithwilkins79.
‘Imagine if this was the scene outside full-to-the-brim Irish hospitals: people dying on the footpath or in a car or ambulance, desperately awaiting an oxygen supply. Well that’s what’s happening right now across India and it’s getting worse’, said chief executive Edith Wilkins.
‘Thankfully, staff and supporters of EWSCFI are getting food rations, sanitisers, disinfectants and other emergency supplies families in slums in Darjeeling and its remote surrounding mountainous terrain.
‘The second wave of Covid-19 has left India shattered and it’s people literally gasping for breath. All resources have exhausted. The country has taken on the picture of one large crematorium, with endless funeral pyres burning round the clock, so much so that the iron girdle framework of the pyres have melted. Even death is no escape with long queues at the gates of burial grounds and crematoria as dead bodies draped in white await last rites,’ said Edith.
Daily Covid cases have exceeded 350,000 but it’s generally agreed that the national death toll is significantly higher than the reported average of around 2,400 and amazingly, election campaigns and rallies continue in five states – including Darjeeling, West Bengal – despite the worsening pandemic. Highest at risk are children, over ten million of whom aged between 5 and 14 are labourers.
Established in 2003, Edith Wilkins Street Children Foundation India is a not for profit charity providing care and protective support to street children, victims of abuse and sex trafficking, child labourers and other at risk minors. There are more than 200 abandoned street children cared for by the foundation in Darjeeling and well over 2,000 children have been helped to date with shelter, security,medical screening, counseling, education and other services.
The foundation is constantly championing child rights issues, battling child labour and also actively establishing non-formal education centres for child labourers by working in close coordination with central government and state agencies. There’s also a voluntary fund raising committee who meet at Unit 4, Drake Centre, Main Street, Carrigaline, Co Cork.